100 reasons to visit Canberra this spring
As we mark 100 days out from the start of spring, Canberra readies itself for another sensational season of memory-making experiences.
The first of the blooms for Australia’s biggest celebration of spring, Floriade (14 September – 13 October), are already in the ground, but there’s much more to explore in Canberra this coming spring. Here’s just a taste…
No list for spring could get started without naming Floriade (14 September – 13 October), Australia’s biggest celebration of spring. See more than a million blooms create a riot of colour throughout Commonwealth Park, Canberra.
Explore the dark side of Floriade as NightFest returns (3-6 October) and the park comes alive with food, wonder and entertainment once the sun goes down.
Is there anything more beautiful than thousands of candles shimmering as the sun sets? To celebrate the peace and goodwill between Canberra and our sister city Nara, Japan, the beautiful Nara Peace Park will be bathed in candlelight from dusk during the Canberra Nara Candle Festival (26 October).
Pay your respects at Australia’s home of remembrance, the Australian War Memorial, this Remembrance Day (11 November).
Pull up a chair at Four Wind Vineyard, and enjoy a slice of wood fired pizza and hand crafted wines as you overlook the vines.
A little piece of Broadway is coming to Canberra Theatre, as West Side Story(10-27 October) brings this tragic love story to the stage.
Brunch to your heart’s content on the Kingston Foreshore, before making your way up to the Old Bus Depot Markets (Sunday).
Sneak in a stay at in a Snug Sun room at Ovolo Nishi, where effortless living meets their signature curated aesthetic.
After you’ve got your fill of flowers at Floriade, head to Shop Girl Flower Girlfor boutique homewares, fresh poesies and gifts you’ll want to keep for yourself.
Vegan eats have never been more delicious than at Braddon’s Sweet Bones – their nachos and cakes are not to be missed.
Can’t make it out to explore the Canberra wine region? Get a taste for the variety on offer as Cellar Door (Saturdays) in NewActon presents a rotating selection of local district wineries on the Nishi Building’s Grand Stair.
Need somewhere to keep your freshly cut flowers? Bison Homewares in Braddon handcraft durable pieces for the kitchen, dining and living room in their sleek modern designs.
Disconnect from reality and reconnect with the important things (namely wine) with a stay in your own bell tent at Naked Cubby Co, nestled above Mount Majura Vineyard.
Looking for a vintage floral fix? Lost Vintage in Braddon makes weekly drops of their curated selection of pre-loved clothing. Once items hit the ‘gram they’re snapped up pretty quick, so it’s always worth popping in to see their latest offerings.
Go nuts for Barrio’s homemade almond milks as you sip your way into ice latte season.
Don your finest racing regalia as Throughbred Park encourages you to ‘reign in the beauty’ on 5 November.
Curl up with a good book from independent bookstore Paperchain. You’ll find everything from the latest reads to obscure coffee table books – sure to be the talking point of your living room.
Yoga with a difference can be found Here. Embrace the slow movement and reconnect with yourself this spring in this mindfully curated studio that features local ceramicists, florists, bakers and tea makers’ wares.
Play the day away at the National Arboretum Canberra. From the enticing Pod Playground, to a good old fashion roll down the hill, children of all ages will love learning and exploring in this living museum of 94 varieties of trees.
What would a family friendly suggestion be without throwing a bone to your furry friends? Join us for Floriade’s beloved Dogs’ Day Out (Sunday 13 October), the only day dogs are allowed at Floriade.
During arguably the spookiest month on the calendar (October), take part in a ghost tour around some famed national attractions with Tim the Yowie Man.
Universal Children’s Day (20 November) is the perfect time to hit up Yarralumla Play Station. Big kids, unless your competitiveness on the mini golf course.
For high tea with a difference, head to Monster Kitchen and Bar for their Afternoon Delight (Sundays). Taste a range of exclusive tea flavours by Tea Garden Co, tea inspired cocktails and champagne, and a range of treats that nail that signature Monster taste.
Meet a cheetah, feed a giraffe and pat a rhino as you get up close and personal with exotic animals at the National Zoo & Aquarium.
Take a Sunday drive around Canberra’s embassy and high commission districtin Yarralumla and then stop in a Yarralumla Turkish Pide House for a cult-fave HSP.
Submerge yourself in all things sculptural with a walk through the National Gallery of Australia’s sculpture garden. See works ranging from Fujiko Nakaya’s Foggy Wake in a Desert: An Ecosphere (which emits a fog-like mist between 12.30-2pm daily) and James Turrell’s millennial pink magic Within without, part of the artist’s Skyspace series.
Dream big as DreamWorks Animation: The Exhibition (20 September 2019 – 2 February 2020) comes to the National Museum of Australia. Iconic characters from DreamWorks Animation’s most celebrated films including Shrek, Trolls and How to Train Your Dragon are among the animations featured in a dynamic and interactive new exhibition opening at the National Museum of Australia.
Excitement abounds at Questacon, the smarter way to have fun. Be sure to take in their Moon up close and personal in this gallery that lets you recline and take in all the details of the giant glowing moon.
Dinosaur fans of all ages will completely ‘dig’ the National Dinosaur Museum, with one of the largest permanent displays of dinosaurs and prehistoric life in Australia.
For a unique wine list brimming with natural, biodynamic, organic, single vineyard wines, head straight to Bar Rochford. Stay back late to be treated to the best of owner Nick Smith’s vinyl collection.
DIY a progressive dinner down Lonsdale Street, Braddon. With options ranging from cheap eats (Pizza Gusto and Grease Monkey) to modern fine dining (eightysix and Lazy Su), there’s something to suit every mood.
Indulge in delicious cakes for morning tea from Rodney’s Cafe, then wander through all of the Pialligo nurseries as they burst into flower, full of things to take home and plant in the garden.
Take the Light Rail from Canberra’s CBD to the ‘Chinatown’ suburb of Dickson, where dumplings, gyoza and laksa awaits.
Jump aboard the food trend that’s sweeping your Instagram feed with a cacio e pepe straight from the Pecorino Romano cheese wheel at Molto Italian on the Kingston Foreshore during World Pasta Day (25 October).
With the change in the weather comes an increased demand for delicious artisan ice cream. With flavours such as roasted pumpkin, durian, soursop, jackfruit, Tim Tam and even bacon, a trip to Frugii is anything but ordinary.
Sink a few bevs at Capital Brewing Co. and partake in their lawn games and a cheeky Brodburger while you’re at it.
Universal Children’s Day (20 November) is the perfect time to hit up Yarralumla Play Station. Big kids, unless your competitiveness on the mini golf course.
Make like the locals do with a walk up Red Hill, offering sweeping vistas of Canberra from the south. While there, take part in a spot of bird watching.
As the NRL season comes to a close, catch the Canberra Raiders v Vodafone Warriors (7 September) in what are sure be fierce competitions at GIO Stadium.
Why cry over Spilt Milk when you can dance instead? This festival is returning this November to Canberra, stay tuned for the line up to be announced soon.
The first day of spring is the final day of the National Gallery of Australia’s exclusive Monet: Impression Sunrise exhibition (7 June – 1 September). Catch some 40 impressionist and related paintings from the Musée Marmottan Monet in Paris, here in Canberra.
Wanting to spring clean your diet? Bitten Goodfoods is part wholefoods supermarket and part organic café, and its greenery-filled environment and variety of food and drinks will leave you feeling replenished.
Snow bunnies, there’s no need to lament the end of ski season, thanks to Vertikal Snow Sport’s Freestyle Fridays. Enjoy a discounted indoor skiing session from $40 or kick back with Jindabyne Brewing beers on tap.
Strike a pose! The National Portrait Gallery will be celebrating Women in Vogue (10 October – 24 November), featuring iconic portraits of remarkable Australian women who have brought life to their pages.
Bring out your inner-snoop as Canberrans throw open their doors during DESIGN Canberra Festival’s (4-24 November) open homes with a difference. Explore the living rooms of acclaimed Canberra houses and discover pop-up exhibitions with works on sale by local artists, makers and craft practitioners.
Celebrate International Bacon Day (3 September) with a visit to Pialligo Estate, home to the award-winning Pialligo Estate Smokehouse. While there, meander through their olive grove, vineyard or orchard and spoil yourself with a meal you won’t forget.
Snap up a meal at Snapper on the Lake, where your fish and chips are accompanied by seriously mouth-watering views across Lake Burley Griffin.
Drink in the epic views with a glass of local wine overlooking the ranges at Brindabella Hills Winery.
Pop in for a glass of wine and some wood-fired pizza at the Pop Inn, appearing in various locations around Canberra.
Enjoy a Devonshire Tea in the serene Yarralumla Nursery, surrounded by their heritage varieties of plants.
Outside the doors of Old Parliament House bloom trellises laden with wisteria. Head to the Museum of Australian Democracy housed within the building on 15 September, International Day of Democracy, to get your fill of Australia’s democratic history.
Embrace the warmer nights with an aperitivo and live music as you sit outside the ambient Tilley’s Devine Café.
Climb your way to the top of the Australian National Botanic Garden’s Paperbark Treehouse. Constructed from wood salvaged from the set of Baz Luhrmann’s movie Australia, this treehouse has a ramp-accessible platform at 2.5 metres high. From there, a ladder takes you up to a crow’s nest in the forest canopy.
Learn the art of ‘cupping’ and how to best appreciate your coffee with a cupping session at Highroad, ONA Coffee’s Dickson iteration.
Local beauty abounds in Pilot Restaurant + Bar – from the locally sourced seasonal produce, ceramics made by Canberra favourite Linburn Handmade, the decanters from the Canberra Glassworks and native floral instillation from Urban Jungle, this place is oozing with capital pride.
Support the smallest gallery in the ACT, Gallery of Small Things.
Explore the varied and meaningful exhibitions in the quaint Nishi Gallery.
Run by artists, for art lovers, Tributary Projects (Thursdays – Sundays) in Fyshwick is the new kid on the block.
aMBUSH Gallery in the Kambri precinct of the Australian National University is home to thought-provoking exhibitions that all ages can take something from.
Ahoy me hearties! Be the captain of your own ship aboard a self-drive GoBoaton International Talk Like A Pirate Day (19 September).
See the wildflowers bloom by taking the walk up Booroomba Rocks – a short hike in Namadgi National Park that delivers big views.
Sleep under the stars as A Wild Night Out at Tidbinbilla returns to the school holidays (27 September – 12 October).
Fly high above the city with a dawn hot air balloon ride across the capital. You might get to see Floriade’s intricate designs from high above!
A quintessential Canberra view is yours with a hike up Mount Ainslie. Start the short trek behind the Australian War Memorial before being greeted with spectacular views looking straight onto Australian Parliament House – our pick for a sunrise photo moment.
What would a walk in the bush capital be without some wattle? Gibraltar Peakis our hot tip to see our national floral emblem in full bloom.
Check out the blossoms in bloom with a walk through Lennox Gardens – home to the Beijing Garden and Canberra Nara Peace Park.
Wanting to spot kangaroos in the wild? For an easy walk with a ton of wildlife, Yankee Hat is where to go. The Aboriginal rock art is not to be missed.
Riding around Lake Burley Griffin has never been easier, thanks to the bikes available for hire from the Canberra and Region Visitors Centre.
Create something to house your flowers with a clay hand building ‘Mud Play’ workshop at Clay Studio Canberra (Friday evenings).
Embrace the lake with a stand up paddle board or kayak session, available to hire.
Sip on a refreshing Geisha’s Kiss, a delightful concoction of plum wine, sake and a hint of rose at Akiba.
Feel the spring sun warm your back as you take a horse trail ride with Burnelee Excursions on Horseback.
Yoga fanatics will love stand up paddle board yoga on Lake Burley Griffin.
Wander through the Australian National Botanic Gardens, home to nearly 6,300 species, where the true variety of Australia’s native flora is on display in beauty rich and rare.
Spot the bee hotel at the Botanic Garden, where native bees call this specially built structure from timber home.
Following your walk through the Botanic Gardens, take things down a notch with a relaxing spa treatment at Jindii Eco Spa.
Afterwards, treat yourself to a nutritious meal courtesy of Pollen.
Shop ’til you drop at the Canberra and Region Visitors Centre, where you can stock up on local wines, hand crafted gifts and memorabilia from your time spent in the capital.
Cycle through of vast expanses of natural parkland with a Canberra Bike Tours six-hour cycling tour through Tidbinbilla. Travel on the 16 kilometres sealed loop road and see Australian fauna and flora in their natural habitat.
For those wanting the bike to do more heavy lifting, Canberra Urban Adventures offers a half-day e-bike tour which will get you up close and personal with roos and more!
Explore the gardens of the ‘house on the hill’ with a spring tour of the immaculate gardens at Australian Parliament House.
Seasonal produce your thing? Pick up the freshest food from the Capital Region Farmers Market (Saturdays) – don’t leave without trying their delicious coffee and pastries on offer.
Exercise AND wine? It’s all yours with a ride through the Murrumbateman Winery Trail. Rent your bike when you stay at Abode Murrumbateman.
Picnics without the hassle of preparation is yours, courtesy of Schmicnics. Take your pick of any number of scenic Canberra locations.
Local tip: Yarralumla Bay’s sandy beach is great for a dip post-snacking!
Hardly contentious, Contentious Character is a contemporary vineyard estate, and its cellar door, kitchen and winery that brings a fresh new world twist to old world styles.
At this point, we’re looking for a good segue into the next activity, and what better way to glide into it than talking about Segways. Strap on your helmet and get set for a tour-with-a-difference on these self-balancing bad boys.
Take a trip to Kokomos, where their trans-pacific eats and cocktails are the perfect spring accompaniment.
Made famous by the Fab 5 from Queer Eye, spend a day out in Yass – lunch at Clementine Restaurant, pop into Creators Nest to buy yourself something new and pick up some driving treats on your way home from Robyn Rowe Chocolate.
Need to walk or ride off some of that delicious food you’ve been enjoying? Within minutes of the CBD you can access the Canberra 100km Centenary Trail and go on a journey between urban and rural environments past iconic sites and hidden treasures.
Enter the twilight zone with a Twilight Tour at Mulligans Flat, where you can step back in time and experience the Australian bush as it was 100 years ago.
Contributing to the emerging laneway culture here in Canberra is Church, a new eatery that has coffee, skating and a buzzing kitchen imbued in its DNA.
Learn about the Aboriginal history on a full day guided tour of Tidbinbilla with Dharwra Aboriginal Cultural Tours. Offered each Thursday and the last Saturday of the month, you will learn about Aboriginal occupation in the Canberra region and experience examples of Aboriginal sites, the cultural landscape and bush foods. The 4WD tour leaves from the Canberra and Region Visitors Centre.
Looking for a remote location to really embrace the bush capital? Head out to Gibraltar Falls, where its infinity pool will leave you feeling cool, calm and collected.
Dip into history at Manuka Pool, and marvel at the federal art deco style, designed by E.H. Henderson.
See the beauty and versatility of glass in a new light the Canberra Glassworks. Watch professional glass artists at work, make your own glass paperweight or take introductory glass courses from experts, and visit their striking exhibitions.
Scrub up on your serve ahead of summer with a hit of tennis at Old Parliament House’s tennis courts, available for hire.
Sculpture in the Paddock (20 September – 6 October) brings together local and internationally acclaimed sculptures and places them across the idyllic rural landscape of the Yass Valley.
Stay at Fratturo Flower Farm, a micro flower farm, where you can stroll through the flower patch, picnic in the field, take in glorious views of the Brindabellas and cap the day off with a drink on your own private island (situated in the middle of the farm’s dam).
With gin season upon us, we recommend a tipple from Canberra’s microdistillery Underground Spirits, distilled using water straight from the Brindabellas.
And that’s just the beginning! Plan your spring visit to Canberra today, head to visitcanberra.com.au
Wanting to see how many activities you can fit into your next short break to Canberra?